Oxford unveils new-look electric fleet

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Oxford Bus Company’s first vehicle in the new blue and green electric livery, and its first Electroliner with the new frontal styling, is seen making its debut on its first full day of service on the company’s hospital route 700 on 18 January. RICHARD SHARMAN

The Go-Ahead Group and Stagecoach are working together with other stakeholders in Oxford to launch one of the UK’s biggest fleets of electric buses in the university city. The £82.5 million project will deliver 159 battery-electric buses, the first of which have already gone into service, funded via a collaboration between Oxfordshire County Council, Go-Ahead’s Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach. The Council was awarded £32.8m from the Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme and contributed £6m directly, while bus operators invested £43.7m in what the city says is a ‘groundbreaking’ infrastructure project which will be a huge boost to its vision of creating a more sustainable, decarbonised public transport system and improving air quality.

Oxford Bus Company will deliver 104 electric buses into service and Stagecoach 55. In preparation for the launch, Oxford Bus Company has electrified its Cowley House depot, turning it into one of the biggest electric bus charging stations in Britain. Stagecoach has also invested in electrification infrastructure, at its Network Oxford depot.

To celebrate the historic development key stakeholders gathered for a launch event at Divinity School in Oxford city centre, where some of the new electric buses were showcased and key representatives delivered speeches.

Matt Carney, CEO of The Go-Ahead Group’s bus division, said: “Go-Ahead is proud to be the largest operator of zero emission buses in Britain. Electric buses make an enormous difference to air quality in cities and by decarbonising our fleet in towns and cities across the country, we aim to make a positive contribution to the fight against climate change. These new buses in Oxford will form Go-Ahead’s biggest fleet of zero-emission buses outside London. The project is an example of bus operators working closely with local authorities to deliver for communities.”

See page 20 for an in-depth look at the development of Oxford’s SmartZone, including the introduction of electric buses and joint ticketing in the city.